The number of suicide cases among Indian Army personnel has fallen by almost 50% in the past eight years. This has been revealed through information provided under the RTI to applicant Chetan Kothari.
Kothari had sought information from the Army on the number of suicides, their causes, the rank and regiment to which the personnel belonged. Kothari was, however, given information only on the total number of suicides that has taken place every year since 2006 with the ranks of officers.
While there is no clear trend in the past eight years, the good part is that the figures have been on a decline over the years. From 129 suicide cases in 2006 – the year when most suicides took place in these years – it is down to 65 in 2013 (see box). The most suicide deaths have taken place in the other rank (OR) category, which have more than 90% of the total cases. That is followed by the junior commissioned officers and then the officer-rank category.
“One of the reasons for higher chances of suicides in the forces, particularly the Army, is because they have a weapon with them. Whenever there are suicidal tendencies, it may not be easy for a common man to do it. But for people in the forces, it is over in an instant,” said Commander Rahul Sinha, chief public relation officer of the defence ministry.
“To ensure that these instances do not take place, we have started counselling and taken other initiatives,” said Virendra Singh, public relations officer of the Army. When asked about the reason for the fall of suicides, Singh asked dna to send him an email. However, the email received no response.
“Our forces work under tremendous pressure. We should make sure that such instances do not take place at all. Besides counselling, the government should make sure that all the other needs of soldiers are taken care of. Issues like granting of leave, increase in salary and better facilities should be taken care of,” said Kothari.
Number of soldiers who ended life
Year Officer JCO Other ranks Total
2006 4 4 121 129
2007 2 1 115 118
2008 3 6 114 123
2009 3 4 89 96
2010 4 12 100 116
2011 - 6 99 105
2012 - 3 92 95
2013 3 3 59 65